Day holds a keynote on the importance of mental health

Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day spoke to students Thursday about mental health experiences as part of “Tackling Challenges: Mental Health Talk with Coach Day.” Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | photo editor

Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day spoke to students about mental health experiences as part of ‘Tackling Challenges: Mental Health Talk with Coach Day’ in the Archie Grand Ballroom Mr. Griffin of the Ohio Union on Thursday.

Ahead of Day’s speech, athletic director Gene Smith emphasized that no one is alone in overcoming mental health barriers.

“The most important thing to know is that you are not alone,” Smith said. “There is always someone to help you with what you have to do.”

Day focused his opening speech on the importance of breaking the mental health stigma and sharing how mental health has affected him.

“There’s a stigma attached to mental health,” Day said. “We have to break it down and be able to say, ‘It’s OK. ”

Day is familiar with mental health, as he has faced his own challenges in the past. When he was 9 years old, his father, Ray Day, committed suicide.

Ryan Day said that for the next 20 years he carried a chip on his shoulder.

“I was angry. I thought he was a coward who abandoned our family,” Day said. “It wasn’t until I got older that I realized it was the impact of mental health. .”

Day, from Manchester, New Hampshire, said he wanted to make a change when he arrived in Ohio State.

Day and his wife, Christina Day, joined the On Our Sleeves movement for the mental well-being of children in the form of the Christina and Ryan Day Fund for Child and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Children’s National Hospitalwhich helps “raise awareness, increase educational opportunity, inspire advocacy, and be a role model for donating to a cause that has historically been overlooked,” according to its website.

Day said you have to find ways to stay mentally fit, and football is the furthest thing from his mind when he needs to relax.

Entering his fourth year as head coach of the football team, Day said tennis was his main stress reliever.

“I go to the Ty Tucker Tennis Center all the time and hit the ball as hard as I can,” Day said. “It’s great to release all the stress in the ball, which allows you to scream. I can eliminate all my stress while staying active.

In addition to tennis, Day said he enjoys watching Netflix to reduce stress.

“I turn on Netflix and watch ‘Peaky Blinders’, a show that’s far removed from football,” Day said. “It takes my mind off anything stressful during the time.”

Day also spoke about former offensive lineman Harry Miller, who announced on March 10 he was medically retiring from football due to mental health issues.

Miller earned OSU Scholar-Athlete recognition twice for his hard work in the classroom and helped the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship and the Sugar Bowl in 2020. In his social media statement about the retirement, Miller said stated that anyone, regardless of position, could suffer mental health struggles.

“A person like me, who is supposed to have the whole world in front of them, can be perfectly prepared to give up the whole world,” Miller said. “It’s not a matter of faraway people. It’s in our homes. It’s in our conversations. It’s in the people we love.

Day praised Miller for his courage and bravery in shedding light on his own challenges. He encouraged students at Ohio State and across the country to come forward in the best interest of their mental health.

“If an offensive lineman at one of the biggest universities can do it, any student in any dorm can step up and talk about their mental health,” Day said. “We are very proud of Harry. We hope his courageous act will encourage more students to speak up as they struggle through difficult times.

Day has a saying that goes “winning the moment” in the football locker room. He said he uses this to encourage his players to focus on what’s going on now instead of dwelling on the past.

Although it’s one of his favorite sayings on the sidelines, Day said it should be used in all areas of life so that no one loses sight of what the world has to offer.

He also noted how his student-athletes were more than names on a football team, saying their happiness shouldn’t be their success in sports.

“Happiness comes from how happy you are as a person. There’s more to life than school and sports. You need that balance in tough times,” Day said. on the sidelines, when you make a mistake, that’s how quickly you can overcome the failure and keep moving forward.”

A student at the University of New Hampshire from 1998 to 2001, Day said if he could give his youngster one piece of advice, it would be to breathe and slow down. Now older and embracing the topic of mental health, Day said everyone should prioritize their self-care and mental health.

“We are responsible for our own happiness. We have to take responsibility,” Day said. “Love yourself and know that people will support your struggles.”

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